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power-rinker_330ec-largeRinker Boats are part of the Nautic Global Group of boat companies and Rinker has a history that dates back to 1945. Their latest line of express cruisers is right up to date and our Rinker 330 EC test boat offers a compelling value proposition.

The 330 EC is, in fact, 35'8" long on an 11'4" beam. The deep vee hull has 18 degrees of deadrise for a soft ride. It is a conventional mid-cabin express cruiser but Rinker has added some appealing new features to boost your enjoyment onboard.

With a base price of $225,676 US, buyers applying a typical 10 to 20% down payment can finance this boat at somewhere around $1,000 a month depending on credit history. That puts the Rinker 330 EC within reach of many families who want to try cruising Canada's beautiful waterways.

In terms of the exterior, Rinker has followed the contemporary styling fashion seen in many express cruisers with a sort of "breaking wave" shearline that sweeps up from the molded-in swim platform to the bow. While it looks fine in white, the style was designed to be complemented by optional custom hull colours: navy blue, pewter, light blue and black.

The swim platform includes a built-in boarding ladder, an interesting square pattern non-skid surface and three stainless steel handholds. The hot and cold transom shower is a great way to start your day when you are moored in the lee of some remote island.

The swim platform on express cruisers helps to transform your boat into its own little island. A neat new feature that we are seeing more of is a transom seat. Rinker's version is a small padded seat that is open to the air. This works well and still allows a large section of the transom to swing open for storage of large items such as lines, shore cables and big fenders. On the port side is a composite transom door. This is your normal route onboard. You can also board from the sides if you are against a high pier however there are no side decks.

Foredeck access is through the centre section of the windshield. Steps up the dashboard are molded in; we would like to see a handrail mounted on the radar arch for safety and convenience. Rinker offers an optional sun pad for the deck. The stainless steel bow rail seems high and secure and a remote control spotlight is mounted at the peak. The anchor locker has a fiberglass cover, electric windlass and the available foot controls are a great convenience when setting the hook.

The Rinker 330 EC also has a radar arch, enlarged with what Rinker calls an "eyebrow". This provides a better spot for mounting aerials and radar equipment. A zip-out forward window section and canvas Bimini extension out the back delivers sun protection while still being relatively easy to open or close up. A nice feature is that the front section both "domes on" for security and zips out for convenience.

Rinker's designers worked hard to deliver cockpit and bridge features that buyers look for. For example, there is a refreshment area that includes a sink, trash locker, a U-Line icemaker, a Waeco refrigerator and a Corian-type counter. The sink is covered and has a gas strut for the hinged section. By adding your own barbecue on the swim platform, you really have a whole second galley. Rinker even includes a built-in blender for your tropical fruit drinks. Sounds like a summer full of fun!

Opposite the refreshment center is a U-shaped aft seat with a large storage area under, six drink holders and a removable picnic table. Most families will make this their regular dining area and our test boat had a total of six stereo speakers there for the Clarion audio system. There are also interior lights overhead on the radar arch.

Up the port side is seating for three plus a plexiglass chart area. To starboard is the double-wide helm seat that includes a flip-up bolster. It slides for reach and a five-position tilt steering wheel is included. Faria analog instruments are standard and the quartz clock is a nice touch. The test boat had a Lowrance GPS plotter but other brands are available.

We liked the standard Lenco trim tabs and their LED indicators. The driver gets a little armrest by the MerCruiser controls although the deck ledge provides a more comfortable spot for your throttle hand in rough water. The helm works well standing and seated you will look directly through the center of the windshield. Two small windshield wipers are included.

A large curving cabin hatch slides to port. It has a screen for maximum ventilation at night. Our test boat had the optional cherry wood and holly flooring throughout the cabin. It was most attractive.

Rinker has done an excellent job on the interior, finishing the aft cabin as an open conversation area with abundant storage under the seat cushions. Those cushions pull forward to become a queen berth. There is a privacy curtain, screened porthole and it's also served by the air conditioning that is standard. Rinker includes a 5 kW Kohler generator.

The main cabin is open to the vee. Up the starboard side is a attractive, cherry wood table with holly inlay – big enough for two. The dinette couch pulls out for another queen berth. There is more storage under here, in cabinets and on shelves above, as well as in a hanging locker.

Opposite is the fully enclosed head with standing height, an opening porthole, vacuum flush MSD and vanity sink. The door is mirrored and there's also a shaving mirror above the vanity.

Ahead of that is the galley, with a generously sized Waeco refrigerator with freezer compartment, a two-burner, smooth stovetop and a combination microwave and coffee maker. There's also a flatscreen television and DVD system mounted here. It swings out for convenient viewing from the vee.

Rinker has left the forward vee berth wide open to the cabin. There is a privacy curtain and although the berth is an odd shape, queen size sheets can be used to make a very generous sleeping area. There are two opening portholes and a screened deck hatch above. Storage is in the side cabinets, shelves and also under the berth.

With so much content, the twin MerCruiser 350 Mag MPI engines have to contend with 14,100 pounds of dry weight. Running Bravo III drives, the test boat planed off in 10.7 seconds and reached maximum speed in 15.6. Sadly, our test boat had a heavy coat of algae and we saw a top speed of "only" 37.5 mph. We expect this boat would run well over 40 without the bottom fouling. Also, because of this, we needed over 3,500 rpm to stay on the plane without the use of the trim tabs. It's a great ad for anti-fouling bottom coats!

Otherwise, the boat has a solid feel in the rough stuff and carved a respectably tight turn even at fairly high speeds. Owners will be quite satisfied with the performance but it is the combination of features and price that will attract most buyers.

By Andy Adams

To see if this boat is available, go to www.boatcan.com to check listings!